Blog


Thoughts from the Studio

What a year it has been so far!

Australians have seen drought, bushfires, floods and now a pandemic … and it’s only April.   But through it all, the Australian character is shining through. Responding to each of these crises with swift action and compassion ... it makes me proud to be an Australian.

"Stay safe" seems to be on everyone’s lips. The new norm is safe social-distancing. Our homes have become a refuge - a place to stay safe, to isolate, to slow down. I find I’m noticing and appreciating the little things, like the abundance of butterflies around our garden, the kindness of neighbours, a smile from a stranger.

It’s important to find that quiet place in your home and to make that space yours. Fill it with beautiful things that give you joy. It could be candles, flowers, pretty pictures, photos of family. Most importantly, make it yours - a place you can go to be creative.

For myself, I have always found my home my refuge, especially true in the last 16 years or so. I have had my studio to go to, being surrounded by clay, the hum of the potter’s wheel. This is where I am most grounded.

Lately, when I find myself being overwhelmed with sadness for the families who have lost loved ones due to the virus, I know I can go back to my studio, my space, putting my hands in the clay. It changes my focus to the piece I am making - I’m present - I am back in the moment..

A mantra that resonated with me, heard while I was in Penland School of Craft, was “Give Yourself the Gift of Time”. I remember thinking, yes, I like that, I’ll do that sometime … Well I think I can now “Give Myself the Gift of Time” …  maybe this would work for you also...

Peace of Green Gallery has been temporary closed due to the Coronavirus. I’ve been part of the Gallery since its inception 27 years ago, this is the first time it has closed in all that time. It saddened me, as I closed the doors, not knowing how long this pandemic is going to last and how long can we, a group of Artists, keep paying the rent on the Gallery.

Along with my husband Dave, we have launched FriedMudd Shop online. It’s something we have talked about for a while now. So, whilst it’s not quite the same as visiting the Gallery, you can browse and order your pottery via the website. We will be adding new products as they are produced.

There’s a book, that I have just dusted off the shelf -  “I’d rather be in the Studio” by Alyson B. Stanfield, is a great art book read – put it on your list.

Enjoy your creative time !


FriedMudd Open Studio

Fried Mudd is opening its studio doors for the first time!

Come and see the place where ideas are conceived, clay is transformed and my unique pieces come to life!

The workshop, gallery, studio and kiln shed are the spaces that I spend much of my life - a life mostly dedicated to my passion for clay.

If you are wondering about the many workshops that are held here, pop in and have a chat, it’s a regular day for me, so come and see what I am working on.  The coffee will be on.

And there will be pottery for sale in the Fried Mudd Gallery.


It's all about the firing

Have you ever wondered about what happens to your creations after you leave the workshop?

Their journey has just begun ...

Your pieces are photographed (often with you in the frame ) and the image is uploaded into the booking system. Each piece is then carefully moved into the drying room, checked for holes and cracks, then left to dry.

The Bisque

The drying process can take a week, more often two, if it's cold or humid, before the ware has dried out enough for its initial firing. Then, a low fired glaze is applied (where applicable) - before being stacked into the gas-fired, bisque kiln. A single burner, pilot light is lit and run overnight, to ensure there is no residual moisture left in the clay.

Next morning, the remainder of the burners and lit and the kiln is slowly cranked up,  gradually reaching around 1,000 to 1,080 degrees Celsius (depending on the glaze that's been applied), over seven to eight hour period. This is known as a bisque  firing.

Raku Firing

After pots have been through the bisque firing, they are ready for the Raku process.

Each piece is removed from the gas kiln and will have a special Raku glaze applied. This Raku glaze has been formulated and perfected over a period of twenty-five years or longer and is a proprietary recipe.

Once the glaze is applied and parts cleaned that do not require the finish, they are stacked, a few at a time, into the Raku kiln. This process will take a full day after a full workshop.

The Raku kiln is taken to 1,000 degrees Celsius at which point, the pots are removed with tongs, and placed into a bin filled with sawdust and straw. The lid is quickly put on and the contents are "reduced" (or smoked), for around ten minutes, before being removed, one by one and hosed off.

The end result of the process is a unique rustic affect, that can only be obtained in this method. Each piece speaks it's own uniqueness and character. The Fried Mudd Studio has one of only a small number of women in Australia who work in Raku methods and quite possibly the only studio that fires workshop attendees' creations this way. For more information on the Raku firings click on the link.

Taste of Clay

After a few hours or the next day the pottery is ready to be turned, smoothed, and then placed in the drying room. After a week, or when the pots are dry they are stacked into the gas kiln. Pilot light is lit over night to ensure there is no moisture left in the clay. Kiln is slowing lit, and gradually reaches 1,000 degrees. This is a bisque firing.

Pots are then waxed and glaze is applied, then stacked back into the kiln for the final mid firing of 1,180 degrees. This takes around 9 hours to reach temperature. The kiln needs to be full to ensure the best out of the kiln. Pending the amount of pieces this sometimes can take a few weeks to fire the kiln.

 


Making Marks in mudd Exhibition

My first solo exhibition, "Making Marks in Mudd", held at the Old Ambulance Station Gallery, Nambour was a huge success. I was so pleased with the pieces I had made, and the reviews I received.  Thank you to all those that attended through week and especially those that helped me celebrate on Opening Night.

Just prior to my exhibition, the Suncoast Clayworkers ran their annual "Ignition Awards" exhibition at the same venue.

I entered one of my sculptures (pictured) and it won the "Highly Commended" award in the sculpture category and the overall "People's Choice" award, as voted by all the exhibition's visitors.

I was very chuffed!

All the pieces that didn't sell are now at Peace of Green Gallery Maleny. Come and take a look!


Clay Gulgong - the Mansfield Farm

The Gulgong International Clay Festival culminates in the firing of a sculpture that has been in the making the entire conference week.

The location of this sculpture, the creation of which is being overseen by Renata Cassiano (from Mexico) and Craig Hartenberger (from the U.S.A.), is the Mansfield family farm, 20 or so kilometres from Gulgong.

Building a commemorative sculpture on the property, is a loose tradition for the Festival which has been running since 1989.

The property is an awesome ramble of sheds, lean-tos, kilns and galleries. And a to-die-for treehouse.

 


Clay Gulgong #2

Our first few days have been dominated by an amazing sculptor from Seattle - Tip Toland and a wood-fired potter from Tasmania - Neil Hoffman.

Tip Toland's work is captivating she works with the human form and transforms the clay into her humour. But it is also a voice for her to platform in clay the suffering of the albino South African children in her sculptures.

Neil Hoffman has an extraordinarily humble and laid back approach to clay and uses innovative, yet simple techniques to captivate the audience and produce remarkable pieces.

Another presenter that caught my eye was Keith Brymer-Jones, an English potter that hosted "The Great Pottery Showdown" series in the U.K. He has set his sights on making 500 pots for all the delegates at the festival.


Clay Gulgong Road Trip 2018

The trip started with an overnight stay in beautiful Byron Bay. This was followed by a scenic drive along the Waterfall Way from Coffs Harbour to North Dorrigo. A cosy little cabin awaited, surrounded by cows, a cool mountain breeze and an amazing sunset. Back on the road, it's Autumn in Armidale, where we find a lovely cafe for lunch and then head towards the Golden Guitar.

After leaving Tamworth, despite being pelted with golf ball-sized hail, suicidal kangaroos, visibility zero downpours and some mysterious Apple Maps directions, 4.5 hours later, tired, hungry we arrived in Mudgee at our little house called the "Corner Store"built in the 1920's that has been converted into a house.  Wine, cheese and a dreamy bed awaited us!

This set the scene for the week that is to follow.

 


Decals on Clay - A tribute to my father Sonny Smeeton

It's coming up to 25 years since my fathers passing and 25 years that I’ve been part of Peace of Green Art Gallery. A little ironic that memories are flooding through my mind about Dad and his amazing life he lead in The Northern Territory.

Mum was sorting through some photos and came across a bag of old articles - this one is from an August, 1966 issue of People magazine. Dad’s skill in roping the wild buffalo live, attracted the attention of many a journalist as he earned the title of the best buffalo roper in the Territory.   

I decided to use a technique that I learnt in last year’s trip to South Carolina's Penland School of Craft and apply the photograph to a mug using a fire-able decal and oxide based toner.

Despite the second firing playing havoc with the previously fired glaze, I am very pleased with the result.

Look for more of this and other print-making on clay techniques in the near future.


Pottery is more than just a piece of clay

'When you buy something from an artist, you’re buying more than an object (or a video, or a book, or a story). You are buying hundreds of hours of errors and experimentation. You’re buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You’re not buying just one thing, you are buying a piece of a heart, a piece of a soul. A small piece of someone else’s life. Thank you.'

I love this, I'm not sure who wrote it, but it does say what many potters and artists feel.

I know from my own experience with this amazing medium what joy passion and pure frustration I have felt over the 35 years I have been working with clay.

It is a love story for me, I get so much joy its almost becoming one with the clay!  When I'm creating a little frog or a chook, or one of my scrumptious  fat ladies, my customers often tell me the piece has a soul it speaks to them it makes them smile.. Thats what gives me the energy at times to keep creating, I like to know that my little creations that I have had so much pleasure in creating, can also be giving the person who buys the piece pleasure too, its very rewarding!

I first discovered clay when I was expecting my 2nd son, we were living in Nobby at the time, I had started attending the Toowoomba Ceramic school where I obtained my diploma in Ceramics. After the birth of my son, I couldn't keep the classes up so my Father gave me a potters wheel it was shipped up by rail.

Now I could practise when ever I got the chance, I'm forever grateful for my father's kindness, and the Potter's wheel that has seen me through some very difficult and lonely times in those early days.  I still have it today its more than 34 years old,  it will always be part of the studio and my 'thank you' whisper to my now passed Dad for the years of enjoyment it has given me.

 

 


Raku ... a love story

Taking the lid off the Raku KilnI  came across the Raku firing method during a time that I was researching different kinds of firing techniques, around 30 years ago. Raku captured my imagination due to the exciting and unpredictable nature of the results. I attended a week long workshop given by Jeff Mincham in Bundaberg in the early nineties and I was hooked. I had my first Raku kiln built a few week later.

I am one of only a few female potters in the country, I guess due to the demanding and sometimes dangerous nature of the process. I have developed my own style and glazing technique and many of my signature pieces are a produced in this way.

Applying the post Raku firing treatmentsRaku means pleasure or enjoyment. It is an ancient ceramic firing technique which is said to have been invented in Kyoto, Japan for a tea ceremony in the 16th century. The Raku process produces remarkable, unique pieces and whilst traditionally, was used on hand built sculptures, it can be applied to all kinds of clay creations.

The Raku firing is a secondary firing process and involves removing the pieces from the Raku kiln whilst still red hot and then placed in a container filled with flammable material, such as newspaper or sawdust. A lid is then placed over the dum causing a flare up that ensues remove the oxygen from the pot's glaze that creates a wide spectrum of colours. Areas without glaze turn dark providing a stark contrast to the glaze.

Pulling out the finished Raku fired pieceThis is where the magic begins.

No two pieces are the same, nor can they be reproduced, making this process unpredictable and exciting. I guess that's why I've been hooked for so long. I often end up with blisters, smoke in my eyes but after a glass of red and a hot bath, the passion remains.


Welcome 2018!

Welcome 2018!

The new studio renovations were just completed in September, when a group of 7 Travel Journalist's from all over Australia took part in a mini 'fun in the mud' workshop. This marked the opening of Friedmudd Studio's new location.

In October Channel 9 morning show visited the new Friedmudd studio. I was honoured to have Steve Jacobs, Channel 9's funny weather man come and participate in a workshop. It was part of the promoting the Hinterland arts and was aired live on Sunday 29th October -  click on the link below to view the video. As the new year unfolds its a nice time to ponder on last years achievements and what we would like to bring into the new year. Melody Bettie said it perfectly 'The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.

I always start fresh with an interesting notebook - one I name gratitude. This is where I write 5 things I am grateful for each morning.  The other notebook is for ideas and inspiring things I would like to accomplish in 2018. It's very uplifting when I read back over last year's notebook as I often am amazed and sometimes pinch myself when I find what was written has come to fruition ...

2017 took on many changes; selling my property, relocating to a lager more spacious home and studio in North Maleny.

Traveling to China, Bali and the most exciting travel was to America.

I was awarded a scholarship to attend a 3 weeks in PenLand School of Craft in North Carolina. Later this year as part of the scholarship, I will hold an exhibition on my studies 'Print Making in Clay'  as part of the scholarship prerequisite.

The new studio renovations were just completed in September, when a group of 7 Travel Journalist's from all over Australia took part in a mini 'fun in the mud' workshop. This marked the opening of Friedmudd Studio's new location.

In October Channel 9 morning show visited the new Friedmudd studio. I was honoured to have Steve Jacobs, Channel 9's funny weather man come and participate in a workshop. It was part of the promoting the Hinterland arts and was aired live on Sunday 29th October -  click to view the video.


'Mamma Mia' pottery & sculpture tour 2016

Its been a long time coming and quite a journey. I spent 2 nights in Athens before the start of the tour. We the flew into Skiathos and joined our tour leader Diana from artemisart tours and the rest of the group. We then catch the ferry to Skopelos where we will spend 10 nights on the island before sailing to Alonnisos island for a further 4 nights then back to Skiathos for our last night.

[caption id="attachment_4361" align="alignnone" width="300"]14232372_10209527361314754_8855763056504625532_n Breakfast with a view![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4362" align="alignnone" width="300"]14222094_10154486895053185_8900674302507279208_n Our first get together in Skopelos Welcome drinks![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4356" align="alignnone" width="224"]14224757_1106165679466060_6424194587399363545_n Villa accommodation , oh so Greek ![/caption]

Our accommodation is spectacular it sits on the side of a hill back dropped by pine clad mountains.

Our pottery school is situated in an idyllic spot over looking the Aegean sea. Its so inspiring the view is breathe taking. 10 participants from all over Australia have come together to experience clay making workshops  in the Greek Islands!

[caption id="attachment_4367" align="alignnone" width="300"]The group photo, our first day in the pottery studio! The group photo, our first day in the pottery studio![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4390" align="alignnone" width="300"]The girls creating! The girls creating![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4391" align="alignnone" width="300"]some of the creations! some of the creations![/caption]

We visit the places Mamma Mia was filmed. We experienced authentic Greek food, many times over, the food is so fresh and the wine is Ok too!

[caption id="attachment_4369" align="alignnone" width="225"]The church on the hill, where Mamma Mia was filmed! The church on the hill, where Mamma Mia was filmed![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4375" align="alignnone" width="225"]I climbed to the top! What an experience and a climb!! I climbed to the top! What an experience and a climb!![/caption]


Renovations At Friedmudd Studio

 Friedmudd studio has been having some exciting things happening.

[caption id="attachment_4218" align="alignnone" width="225"]concrete being poured concrete being poured[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4217" align="alignnone" width="225"]Mick pouring the slab for the bedrooms Mick pouring the slab for the bedrooms[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4219" align="alignnone" width="300"]Dan working on the framing Dan working on the framing[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4220" align="alignnone" width="300"]Dan cutting the outside weather board. This was once the garage Dan cutting the outside weather board. This was once the garage[/caption]

I was fortunate to have my son Mick take on the job to renovate the studio and also add an additional 2 more bedrooms to Victoria's Attic which is almost completed. Thanks to my two sons Mick & also Dan for their expertise and commitment. It was a creative job, one that just kept getting bigger & bigger!!


4 days in Paris

Paris we are staying in a little apartment at St-Michel in the Latin Quarter 6th arrondissements.  The Norte Dame is two streets away.. From our window I can see the chapel, cafes are everywhere, buskers in the street music playing.

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Day 1 - wandering the streets then dinner with our lovely French friends in Paris

Day 2 - in Paris, wandered through the Notre Dame just around the corner, then the Moulin Rouge, Rue Lepic an ancient road in Paris - then the MontMartre loved the artist working on the streets -Sacre Coeur (the sacred heart of Jesus) what an amazing chapel - then we climbed the Eiffel Tower what an amazing view worth the wait

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Day 3 - Museum of Rodin- sculpture garden this is worth a visit it’s inspiring and filled with breath taking moments sculptures and gardens.

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Day 4- Last day was spent packing, some shopping and saying goodbye to Paris -

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au revoir Paris je reviendrai !!


Road trip through the north western country side of France

I spent a day playing in the French clay with Coco and Martha and Charlotte, nieces of the lady who owns the old farmhouse in Vers.

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The children didn’t speak English, I found clay has a language of its own - we managed to get by!

Unknown                     Left Vers in the South of France and drove 600km through some of the most spectacular countryside and villages tucked in the mountain side - heading west through the French Alps making our way to Paris. Stopping at Rocomadour for coffee, what a stunning place.

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After Rocomadour we traveled through more beautiful farmland before staying the night in city centre of Limoges.

Next day was another 600km mostly highway drive, before approaching the magnificent town of Dinan the first glimpse of Dinan is the harbor and old bridge, what a beautiful place we wandered around the town beautiful old tutor style buildings - Christmas decorations are starting to fill the quaint shops…

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The next destination is Le Mont Saint-Michel, we arrived around 7.30pm.

Found accommodation only 1km from Le Mont Saint-Michel, where we walked and explored that night OMG amazing!!!

 

 

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There was always something interesting to discover - quiet villages, stunning scenery, historical buildings lost in the countryside...

We have had a great time discovering the 'real' France.

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Our final destination Paris!

 


Adventure continues in Avignon & Vers, South of France

 Just over the bridge from Avignon located against the backdrop of Villleneuve a stunning medieval city,is brocante (flea-market) of Villeneuve is one of the best known brocantes in France , this market attracts the most serious antique dealers in Provence and the United States, who arrive early to snap up the best merchandise as did we - I managed to find some amazing treasures.

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Les Iuminessences speticular light show in the Palace des Papes, the commentary was totally in French 

The animations were breathtakingly beautiful, and perfectly tailored for the palace that acted as projector screen. The windows, crenulations, towers and even the stone gargoyles were incorporated into the show. 

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Our next adventure is Vers in the South of France our home for 10 days, its the cutest little village in the South of France just 27 k’s from Avignon. owned by a very lovely french lady who has become a wonderful friend.  She kindly offered us her home while she is working in Paris. Its like something out of a movie ‘Under the Provence (Tuscan) Sun’ Its everything and more than I could have dreamed, pinching myself.

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 We explored the little lane way just below the house that leads to the village.

 The house built in the 16th century and has a veggie garden, many small little hidden doors through out with winding old staircases. A well in the cellar, fire place, attic and an old stone barn with a loft.

 Just 2 km’s down the road is Le Point Du Gard Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) is one of the oldest and most remarkable Roman hydraulic works. The bridge is 48.77m high, has three levels and was built in ca. 20 BC It crosses the river Gardon near Nimes (south of France).

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The French Riviera and The South of France

Beautiful Nice, what a wonderful city to explore, we stayed in the old city just one street back from the French Riveria, it was what I needed after the 3 weeks on tour time to relax and indulge in the magic of the City. Words can’t express how much I love this place. 

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 Explored the streets of Saint-Paul de Vence  such a beautiful medieval village with little cobblestone pathways its known for the many artist galleries.

it is well known for its contemporary art museums and galleries such as Fondation Maeght.

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We then hired a car and drove to Avignon on the 5th October, we have an appartment just across from the Popes Place in the old walled city. Music plays in the square its alive with fresh food markets and antiques. The bells of Avignon ring every half hour through out the day and night.

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 We were lucky enough to visit a ceramist Christine who has her atelier (studio) in the Popes Palace to decorate tiles so blessed, Christine’s  atelier is  through a tiny door and up a winding set of stone stairs what an interesting place, an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime..

 IMG_7466IMG_7484 IMG_7471As the sun was setting that night we walked to the ‘Sur le Pont d’ Avignon’ the bridge  dates back to the 15th century.

 The bridge is better known as the Pont d'Avignon on which one dances, as the song says.

 We toured the Palais des Papes -Construction was started in 1335 and completed in less than twenty years under the leadership of two builder popes, Benedict XII and his successor Clement VI. The Popes’ Palace is the biggest Gothic palace in all of Europe (15,000 m2 of floor space, which is the equivalent of 4 Gothic cathedrals. 

One night we watched the movie 'Les recettes du bonheur' in french in an old cinema near where we are staying, something I wanted to experience it was amazing.IMG_7708 2

Next day lunch with our friends who own a organic wine making and bee keeping farm in the Pont du Gard South of France. 

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We walked through the vine yards, drank wine from their farm had a wonderful lunch.Then to top of the day we visited the ‘Opera Grand’ in Avignon and experienced the ballet, Romeo et Juliette.

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Raku firing at La Meridana International school of Ceramics

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Step by step firing process

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After the pots are glazed with the specially mixed raku glazes they are placed very carefully into the raku kiln. The kiln at the school is exceptional it has a pulley system and also room for an addition if you have larger sculptures.

We all helped make our Aussie kookaburra kiln god who sat proud on the kiln.

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The pots are fired to 900degrees then taken out with large tongs and placed in the sawdust; as soon as they are on the sawdust they need covering. Totally covered in sawdust we then wait about 10 minutes before taking out with the tongs and submerging in water. This process is very hard on the pots and some do crack because of the instant change in temperature But necessary to hold the color. After 20 minutes the pots are then taken out and cleaned with steel wool to take the carbon of the pots to reveal there uniqueness and color.

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The next day is the critique, I was so pleased with the masterpieces that were created so proud!

It was a lovely way to experience and participate in a raku firing. From our passion of clay it has brought us all together such a lovely thing.

Every day at the school we enjoyed a 3-course lunch by chief Lucia and as much wine as we wanted with our meal - just beautiful.

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I’ll always have fond memories of our wonderful Tuscan pottery experience, such a wonderful bunch of ladies we have shared so many great times together.

The next three days we will be in Faenza the ceramic capital of the world!!

 


Raku firing in Tuscany

 

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Our last day of glazing and raku firing at La Meridiana School of Ceramics

It was so much fun, some amazing masterpieces. finished our last Raku firing after another beautiful lunch and wine of cause, it just can’t end yet!!!

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Wandering through Florence

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We spend our free day wandering the streets of Florence, shopping visiting the markets there is so many leather bags and jackets to choose from. Diana our tour leader organized a guide to take us to places like The Duomo, Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence, and visited the museum Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo’s David is. We all had a wonderful day!

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Today we spend the morning learning about Italian clay, we then mixed a raku glaze and finished off our pieces  and finished by making a kiln goddess.

 

This morning we left our lovely villa in Cerdlo it’s been home for 5 nights to transfer to Fattoria Bacio it’s a 19 century villa 340 acres of olive groves, and vineyards. Its harvest time so we see the grapes being harvested. They have won prizes for their ‘extra vergine’ olive oil. It’s a beautiful part of the country side in Tuscany! So much to explore it has a chapel and a swimming pool.

 

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We have arrived in Tuscany for 'Fun in the Italian Mudd'

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Fun in the Italian mudd starts with welcome drinks at our villa in the medieval village of Certaldo in Tuscany, close by to the school of Ceramics - La Meridiana.

 

IMG_6100IMG_6106 Our little village is so beautiful we will be here for 6 nights so time to unpack and make it home. The village sits on top of a hill with the most spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside. This is more than I could have dreamed with the most amazing sunsets, church bells ringing so beautiful.

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The drive to La Meridana School of ceramics is lovely we wind our way up another hill it’s an old converted farmhouse built in the 17th century. It’s fully equipped with 12 wheels and plenty of space for hand building.

 

We have had 4 days of clay building, enjoyed amazing delicious 3-course lunch with as much wine as you like, this helps with wheel throwing later!   La dolce vita!!

 

Cars are not allowed on Certado hill top village so visitors take the funecolare it’s a little carriage that takes you up to the village.

 

last night there was a medieval fair in the village the night is filled with medieval music, dancing, and flame throwing just outside our villa. Tonight it’s a food festival the local farmers have their best produce. The famous red onion grows on the hills of Certaldo.

there is also truffles olives cheese and chocolate tasting all grown in the area,  oh and a wedding too there has been 3 three weddings since I have been here.

We were lucky enough to be invited to Ugo Rivo’s opening night in Florence last night and see his work in the magnificent gardens of the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence. Ugo Rivo is a very famous sculptor in Italy.

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A Potter's journey through France and Itlay

 

IMG_5975Our next destination is Milan, 500 km of driving to reach Italy.

We drive through the French Alps, La Mount Blanc through long tunnels weaving along the mountains; it’s the most glorious scenery. We then drive over the boarder into Italy. From our car we can see the most beautiful Tuscan countryside we are so blessed to be here!!

We spend a night in Milan, do some shopping of cause Milan is having its fashion week when we arrive. The next morning we visit a famous sculptor Ugo Rivo at his studio, this is the highlight of my trip so far.

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Around 3pm we arrive in Pisa, we are staying in a little apartment above the leaning tower its just perfect the village of Pisa is so beautiful.

We have one night in Pisa before droping our car off at the airport and meeting the group we are about to start ‘Fun in the Tuscan Mud’ at ‘La Meridiana’ Tuscan school of Ceramics in Italy!!!!!!!

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A Potters journey through France and Tuscany

IMG_5523If you wake up early just as the sun in rising the deer come close to the château our friendly peacock came to visit us while we had breakfast then sadly had to say goodbye to the Countess, I have many fond memories of this place.

 

Our next stop is Lyon its about 450km drive. On the way, we call into the lovely village of Tour, with its gorgeous old buildings some Tudor style - every street is breath taking.

Old antique stores, and the most delicious patisseries, cholocatiers - boutique clothes shops where I bought a lovely scarf.

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We then set of on our journey to Lyon. The tolls are confusing, traffic jams it’s a very long drive into Lyon very exhausting.  We arrived at our motel room around 7pm.

 

 

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Next morning after a good night sleep we set of early to have some breakfast and buy some fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmers market. Then visit the Sur la Saint-jean, une tre’s ancienne coutume du Vieux Lyon, la foire aux tupiniers, the potters fair in old Lyon.

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It is filled with pottery from all over France and Europe and has been operating for 17 years.  Old Lyon is the most beautiful city its been a different experience staying in Lyon were in the middle of the city so it’s a short walk to the shopping centre tomorrow we leave for Italy.

 

 

 

 

 


A Potters journey through France & Tuscany

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We came across a Art Supplies shop just across the road from the Louvre, called Le Magasin built in 1900 and still family owned. Greats like Van Gough visited the store often to buy art supplies.

 

The highlight of the day for me was visiting Claude Monet’s home and famous garden. It was truly an amazing experience the little village of Giverny where Monet lived is so beautiful with its small stone cottages and the sweetest little stores, the fields are full of sunflowers so delightful.

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Our last night in Paris, we decide to have dinner as close to the Eiffel Tower as we could, its spectator at night.

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Up early Wednesday morning and ready for our next adventure, picking up our hire car at the train station in Paris.

 

Driving through Paris is a story on its own; we had a few rather tense moments! But after 3 hrs we had made our way through and on the highway leading to The Loire Valley. We decided we would take the country roads and stop at some of the little villages along the way. We had lunch at a lovely Château under a row of very old mulberry trees it was wonderful!

 

Around 7pm we arrived at our destination the Château de l’Aubrie’re our home for 2 nights! We were greeted by the beautiful Countess and made to feel very welcome. We were totally spoilt with a huge selection of cheeses and wine and bread. Then bed!

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I’m sleeping in a cozy little room full of antiques the Château was built in 1860 and is on 15 acres filled with chestnut and acorn trees a swimming pool and a veggie garden - its our home for 3 days oh my gosh I feel like I’m in a old movie!


A Potters Journey through Tuscany

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Our journey begins in Paris, after a long 24hr flight we arrived in Paris at 1.30pm Monday afternoon jet lagged we made our way to Hotel Pavillon Opera Paris.

 

After we had settled in, decided to do some exploring and shopping Paris has so many wonderful places, delightful cafe’s and shopping! We made our way to La Fayette plaza its just amazing with multi story levels of the most beautiful stain glass ceiling. I found Chanel perfume the largest in Paris!  Back to our hotel room for a quick shower and a lovely dinner I had French onion soup it was delicious! I just love the little cafes in Paris,  wine, cheese and bread for every meal. 

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Early night the next day we decided to take the open air bus and see the sights of Paris we visited the Louvre, saw the Mounlin Rouge and other great sights. 


Fun in the Mud workshop at Care centre Flaxton

Volunteering to run a workshop with the elderly and the disabled was such a blessing.

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It shows that clay can be as much fun for children as the elderly and the disabled.  They had a great time creating small pinch pots and animals,even after the workshop was over most of the participants stayed on, it was truly great to see the child within playing for a short time..


Italian Tour coming soon!

[caption id="attachment_3994" align="alignright" width="227"]Tuscany goddess Tuscany goddess[/caption]

With only weeks to go the excitement of the Tuscany tour is approaching.  Eleven lady's mostly from the Sunshine coast area are preparing packing and counting down the sleeps till we arrive.  Some of us are meeting in Paris before the tour while others are going to Ireland and England first then meeting the group in Pisa.

Although she is not finished yet I started to make a goddess of Tuscany, thats one of the many workshops we will be having while we are in Tuscany at  La Meridana School of Ceramics.

 


Living Back Yard workshop. Creating a frog

Living Back Yard workshop run by the Sunshine Coast Council a great success, beautiful winter weather just a perfect day. We made frogs in clay everyone enjoyed creating.

[caption id="attachment_3984" align="alignnone" width="300"]Creating a frog, with Cathy Lawley Creating a frog, with Cathy Lawley[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3985" align="alignnone" width="300"]Little Grandson creating a frog! Little Grandson creating a frog![/caption]


Channel 7 local news visited Friedmudd Studio

While I was preparing for Gardening on the Edge for the weekend of the 7th & 8th June, I had a phone call from Channel 7 wanting to film 'The potters garden' I was very excited. They only gave me an hour to prepare I managed to have everything as tidy as I could.

It went so well I was thrilled, during the weekend we had 1,200 visit my garden and gallery it was a fantastic weekend!

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Special Mother's Day workshop

Last weekend I had a very talented group of Mothers, some treated themselves others came from a gift from their daughters. It was lovely to share the space with such an appreciated bunch of women.

IMG_4921Sharon came with her daughter and also her Mum three generations all sharing the experience that will last a lifetime. The workshop flowed beautifully as we all became still and in-touch with our creativity some amazing sculptures emerged from a block of clay, chipped away until it revealed it's self, it is what comes from within through the hands into the clay..


The Birth of Venus

Two days of creating in clay 'The Birth of Venus' Botticelli's most famous painting, I wanted to create a piece of Italy to mark the beginning of my Italian sculpture tour. 3 weeks later fired and ready to go I drove to the Gold Coast to visit a teacher and friend Ursula Kelly.

We mixed paints, laughed, drank wine and painted The Birth of Venus sculpture, she nows takes pride of place in my studio IMG_4587


Weekend Fun in the Mud workshop

It had rained all week leading up to the workshop, although we really need rain I was pleased it had stopped a little over the weekend. What a great bunch of ladies we all had such a fantastic time, plenty of laughs, creativity and friendships formed.

I always find each workshop is so unique but with a common thread to get our hands dirty in clay and forget about the outside world for a time.. We had a feast of home baked food for lunch with everyone bringing something special along, exchanging recipes, movies and books !

[caption id="attachment_3919" align="alignnone" width="600"]student Min at Friedmudd studio student Min at Friedmudd studio[/caption]


'Mud pies' for my Grandchildren

Its so special when my grandchild Savannah comes for a visit, after having an ice-cream or a cup of tea its straight to the studio, apron and on the potter's wheel, as the clay oozes though her lovely painted fingernails. Then the creations are painted and left to dry. IMG_4502


Time Management for the Artist

Happy new year, everyone! As 2012 begins and we move out of the holiday season and back into a more normal working routine, it’s natural to be considering what you’ll be doing with the year ahead, how you want to use it, and what your priorities will be. Of course, much of this kind of thinking relates to your personal life, in a way separate to the part of your life which is involved with creating art, although naturally a connection exists between the rest of your life and your artistic process. But it’s also a good time to consider what you want to do specifically with your art in the coming year, identify some of the challenges you might face, and think of ways to manage them

One aspect many artists worry about is time management. Sometimes it can seem as if there are such a lot of things competing for your time and efforts that it’s impossible to decide between them, and nearly impossible to do them all. To tell whether you really are taking on too much, you need to analyze your tasks and how much time things should take. It may be that you need to say ‘no’ to certain projects, or put others off until a quieter time. Don’t let guilt or a fear of missing an opportunity force you into taking on more than you can handle; in the end, you’ll only end up shortchanging something or even everything you’re doing in a desperate attempt to do it all.

fried-mudd-studio-1Often, however, getting everything you want to do done is just a matter of managing your time effectively. To do this, you need to work out your priorities. What is most important to you? What balance of time and energy do you want to give to the different demands in your life? You’re the only one who can know this, and it’s important to work it out before you start trying to work out any kind of schedule for you time. If your priority this year is getting into a gallery, or entering a number of fine art competitions, then you need to put a lot of time aside for achieving this, and not end up spending all your time in your studio sculpting or painting, however tempting that might be.

Once you have decided on your priorities, you need to sit down and work out what time is available for art-related work during your week. This varies enormously from person to person; some artists do most of their art-related work at the weekend, while others have made it a full-time job that takes place between 9am and 5pm. Others work best at night, or only in the early morning. You know what time you have, and unless you can change the other factors in your life to accommodate an alternative arrangement, it’s vital to be able to work effectively in the time you have, whether that’s 2 hours a week, or 40.
cathy-sketchbookYou need to make sure everyone around you knows when your ‘art hours’ are and that they are times when you should not be disturbed for anything trivial. Whether you’re making phone calls to galleries and collectors, emailing buyers and readers, making arrangements for participation in an art fair, or working on a piece of artwork, you need to be able to concentrate on it and give it your full attention as much as is possible. If for some reason you’re having trouble focusing on your task one day, or one week, use the time that you couldn’t paint in to make calls, or the time when you couldn’t get through to anyone on the phone to write your next email. There are always other things waiting to be done. Then, you can do the postponed task during time set aside for whatever you ended up doing instead.

Despite all of this planning, you have to accept the fact that your ideal schedule will probably vary according to the other things going on in your life. It’s important to realize this from the beginning, or you risk experiencing continual unnecessary frustration and irritation that will make enjoying life harder and won’t help your art either. Just as you’ll sometimes have to rethink how to spend the time spent doing art-related work, you’ll sometimes need to give less time than you’d like to it at all, as other things take priority. However, it works the other way around as well – there will be weeks when things worked out more easily than expected, or some other plan was canceled, and you have more time for art than you expected. Don’t worry about this natural fluctuation; expect it and simply try to use your time well doing whatever needs to be done in the moment. This fantastic article was taken from agora art gallery blog.

 

 


Food for Thought

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty fifth wedding anniversary. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quiet so beautiful." As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand," it said, "I haven't always been a teacup."

"There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'Let me alone,' but he only smiled, 'Not yet.' "Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'Not yet.'

"Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips, as he shook his head, 'Not yet!' "Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There that's better,' I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible; I thought I would gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.' "Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffo? cate. I begged. I pleaded, I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head say? ing, 'Not yet!' "Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, 'That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.' "'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crum? bled. I knew it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. "'I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in the second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held.

"'Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began you.'"

 


Clay Body Art and Body Casting

Imagine casting your gorgeous body in clay to capture special moments in your life such as prime fitness or pregnancy.

Pregnant Body Art by Cathy Lawley of Fried Mudd Male Body Art by Cathy Lawley of Fried Mudd Female Body Art by Cathy Lawley of Fried Mudd


Cathy Lawley

Cathy Lawley is a clay artist, always has been and always will be. Cathy has been featured on television and in the media for earthy, whimsical art and raku clay firing. She is invited to display at galleries and art festivals throughout Queensland.  Fortunatley for locals and visitors to the Sunshine Coast, Cathy is ready to share her talents at her hosted workshops.

fried-mudd-studiowhere I create

I create my work in my gorgeous sandstone studio that sits beside my beautiful 125yr old Queenslander which was transported from SpringHill in Brisbane to the Hinterland town of Maleny.

It sits on top of a hill surrounded by cottage gardens with views of Lake Baroon in the distance. It is here that I’m transported to a another place which allows my creativity to unfold while looking out through the large window which frames the ever-changing view, in the cooler months themist roles in and rainbows show off their magical colour almost within touching distance, the occasional cow from the neighbouring property comes to inspire me with their big brown eyes.

My loving companions, my pets Sassy and Ellie are always at my feet, the lockets, king parrots and cockatoo’s find a feast in the large tree that provides a canopy over my studio while the kookaburras sing happily in the trees that surround the house.Occasionally I’m joined by a group of curious wallabies looking through the fence. It makes me happy to know that my work, from the whimsical to the sleek and modern, can be found in homes all over Australia and various places in the world, that these pieces are treasured by people who have seen my work and HAD to have a piece for themselves.


Gift Vouchers

If you think someone you know might like to come along to one of these workshops, you can buy them a Gift Voucher! They can use the voucher towards any workshop in the Calendar, Private Workshops or in the Noosaville Gallery.

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